The Chicago White Sox had a chance to move a little closer to first place before a big series against the division-leading Guardians in Cleveland.
Instead, they closed out a stay at home with a clunker Thursday against the Houston Astros.
The Red Sox allowed four home runs, including two two-run homers by Alex Bregman, in a lopsided 21-5 loss in front of 24,407 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
A series that began with a pair of exciting wins for the Sox ended with a thud. The 21 runs are the most the team has allowed in a game this season and the most in stadium history.
“Just a brutal day,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said.
The Sox also allowed a season-high 25 hits and had to settle for a four-game series split.
“Disappointing,” La Russa said of the split. “We were up two (in the series) and (on Thursday), do you think the fans had a rough time? That is difficult for all of us to accept. That is a brutal afternoon.
“In the game (on Wednesday), we had a chance and we didn’t get it (losing 3-2). Be grateful for both, but when you win the first two, you want more. We have to stay hungry and we were (Wednesday) but (Thursday) it escaped us early”.
The Sox fell 2 1/2 games behind the inactive Guardians in the AL Central. The teams begin a three-game series on Friday at Progressive Field.
“Obviously I didn’t do my job,” Sox starter Lucas Giolito said. “It was pretty terrible. (Friday) a new series, important series. Just forget about (Thursday) and go after him.”
It is the seventh time in franchise history that the Red Sox have allowed at least 21 runs in a game and the first since August 30, 1970 against the Boston Red Sox, when they also allowed 21 runs. The runs allowed were tied for the second-most in Red Sox history, one short of the club record of 22 set on July 26, 1931, by the New York Yankees.
It is also the seventh time in team history that the Sox have allowed at least 25 hits in a game, the first since Aug. 31, 1974 against the Yankees when they also allowed 25 and one short of the franchise record set at 20. of June. 1932, against the Philadelphia Athletics.
“It just wasn’t a good day for the White Sox, but in this game it’s a day,” La Russa said. “We parted ways with those guys that are really good, and now let’s take care of business in Cleveland.”
Giolito couldn’t get out of the fourth, allowing seven runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk over three innings. He allowed 15 runs over eight innings in his two starts against the Astros this season.
“I didn’t think my stuff was very good either, but (I) lost locations and he got hit hard,” Giolito said. “That’s generally the story of how it went.”
He allowed a solo home run to Trey Mancini in the second. Bregman drove in two with a two-out double in the third and scored on Kyle Tucker’s single with a jump ball off Romy Gonzalez’s glove at shortstop.
“He’s as responsible as any incumbent we have,” La Russa said. “He knows that he has to go deeper into the game. He was cruel when he struck out (Yordan) Alvarez (for the second out in the third) and then three runs later he couldn’t get the third out. They got a lot of runs with two outs against us.”
Giolito faced three batters in the fourth, allowing a double and two singles.
“You take the ball about 30 times and you’ll have a day where it just won’t work,” La Russa said. “That was (Thursday). For him, when you have an offense like that, he makes you pay early and often.”
The Astros scored six in the fourth, with two on Bregman’s home run off reliever Vince Velasquez.
Bregman hit another two-run homer off Velasquez in the sixth and finished with six RBIs.
The Astros scored four in the eighth against reliever Jose Ruiz and four more in the ninth against position player Josh Harrison. The 25 hits tied a franchise record for the Astros, who last accomplished the feat on Aug. 10, 2019, in Baltimore.
“I think the guys did a pretty good job of not giving away any at-bats,” Bregman said. “It’s August, it’s late in the year, but the guys’ approach was good. We swung at good pitches and I was proud of our at-bats as a unit.”
While it was a discouraging day for the Sox, Yoán Moncada wrapped up a productive drive with a three-run homer in the fifth. The third baseman had seven RBIs in the four games, including driving in approval races on Monday and Tuesday.
The Sox went 5-2 at home, winning the first five before losing two. Now the focus shifts to the Guardians, who have an 8-5 lead in the season series.
“(If) we had won 25-5, we would have had to move on,” La Russa said when asked about steps to recover from Thursday’s blowout. “You get beat up, there are a lot of upset people in that clubhouse. It was not funny. It was difficult.
“They beat us. They deserve the credit. We take the heat. That’s what I’m doing right now before I turn the page on Cleveland.”